Top 5 Crazy State Gun Laws
The Constitution of the United States of America allows for the right of its citizens to bear arms. And although this right is considered inalienable, a lot can change over the course of 200+ years. So it’s no surprise that both federal and state governments have found it necessary to pass laws to limit, expand, or expressly state how firearms may be bought, sold, and used. Here are just a few of the craziest and most controversial state gun laws in existence.
- Minors with weapons. Many states have provisions that allow minors to handle firearms so long as they are in the company of a responsible adult such as a parent or instructor. But Vermont has gotten some flak for the fact that residents age 16 and up are allowed to obtain permits and purchase firearms, and minors do not need parental permission to do so. Of course, what is perhaps even more controversial is that fact that Vermont requires no permits to carry concealed weapons.
- Carrying concealed weapons. In addition to Vermont, Alaska, Arizona, and Wyoming also allow residents to carry concealed guns without a permit. And while they are the most lenient on this score, they’re not the only states to enact laws that make gun-toting easier for residents. Utah, for example, requires a permit to carry loaded and/or concealed weapons, but residents can carry firearms in the open in public without a permit so long as the guns aren’t loaded.
- Stand your ground. Most people would agree that the ability to protect you home and family from intrusion or attack (what is known as “castle doctrine”) is covered under the 2nd Amendment. After all, the idea was to allow individuals to feel safe in their own homes. But Florida takes this notion a step further with the controversial “stand your ground” law that provides for the use of deadly force for anyone who feels threatened. This law was responsible for the highly publicized Trayvon Martin killing, for which shooter George Zimmerman was ultimately acquitted. What rubs most people the wrong way is the rather subjective nature of threats, as well as the fact that the law does not require residents to try to escape or use another means of stopping a threat if possible before using deadly force.
- Public permits for the blind. When Iowa passed a law in 2010 that turned them into a “will issue” state, allowing for anyone with no criminal background or history of mental illness to apply for gun permits, they probably didn’t realize that the law would be so controversial. But the fact that it allows legally blind residents to not only own firearms, but obtain permits to carry them in public has certainly brought it to the public attention. Part of the problem is that the required safety course to obtain a public permit to carry a gun is offered online.
- Guns in church. Louisiana raised a few eyebrows when Governor Bobby Jindal signed a 2010 law allowing for the use of guns in houses of worship as part of a private security force. The law was aimed at providing protections for members of religious organizations in high-crime areas, but plenty of people questioned the law and its potential for allowing violence into houses of worship. Of course, Louisiana also allows residents to purchase rifles, shotguns, and ammunition in any state and bring it back, making it one of the most lenient states where reciprocity is concerned. And while the hope is that residents are responsible enough to educate themselves about firearms with websites like Shooting.org, not to mention take proper safety courses in gun handling, the truth is that there will always be an element of society that uses firearms for the wrong reasons and in the wrong ways, often resulting in harm to others.